Initial Quality in China Sets New Benchmark; Domestics Improve Significantly

Dr. Mei Songlin

China’s domestic brands are improving their initial vehicle quality and are narrowing the gap with international brands, which is reducing the overall problem rate in China to a record low, according to the 2013 China Initial Quality Study (IQS). At the industry level, overall initial quality averages just 119 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2013, which represents the lowest number of problems since the study was introduced in 2000.

The 2013 China IQS, which examines problems experienced by new-vehicle owners within the first two to six months of ownership, evaluates two general types of problems: design-related problems, and defects and malfunctions. Some 21,181 owners of new vehicles purchased between October 2012 and June 2013 in 46 major cities were surveyed for the study. The overall initial quality score for 2013 is determined by calculating PP100, where a lower problem incidence rate indicates higher quality. Continue reading ›

Overall Rental Car Satisfaction is Not Only About Price

 Rick Garlick

Rick Garlick

Although more than one-third (35%) of rental car customers at airport locations mention low price as the top reason for selecting their rental car company, those business and leisure/personal customers who select a rental car agency based on price are the least satisfied with their overall rental car experience, according to our 2013 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study.

The study finds that satisfaction among those customers who choose a rental vehicle based on price averages just 756 (on a 1,000-point scale), which is 72 points lower than the average satisfaction score of 828 among customers who choose a rental car company based on good customer service.

There is some good news about customer satisfaction in this year’s study. Customer satisfaction with the rental car experience among more than 12,382 customers averages 775, which is the highest average index since the study’s methodology was redesigned in 2006. The overall satisfaction score also is 6 points higher than in 2012. Continue reading ›

Thorough Explanations Enhance After-Sales Service Satisfaction in Vietnam

Vietnam01New-vehicle owners in Vietnam prefer to have the type and scope of maintenance or repair work explained prior to their service visit and after the work is completed at the dealer or authorized service center, according to our 2013 Vietnam Customer Service Index (CSI) Study. When a service advisor provides explanations at the beginning and completion of work, satisfaction improves significantly—by 24 points (on a 1,000-point scale). Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Expert Discusses Digital Trends in Shopping for a New Vehicle

Arianne Walker

Arianne Walker

Arianne Walker, senior director of media and marketing solutions at J.D. Power, provided insights from J.D. Power’s latest research on the automotive shopping process during an opening review of “How Digital Living Impacts the Automotive Industry,” at the October J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable in Las Vegas, NV.

A prior post,  J.D. Power’s Roundtable Speaker Defines “Connected Auto Consumers” summarized Walker’s discussion of shopping trends by generation, statistics about visits to websites, in addition to explaining how AIUs (Automotive Internet Users) access information digitally. Today’s post includes more of Walker’s insight about automotive buyer online research behavior and the roles that social media and video play in the shopping experience. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Roundtable Speaker Defines “Connected Auto Consumers”

Arianne Walker

Arianne Walker

Today’s digital lifestyle has a growing impact on the auto industry. Understanding how consumers who are in the market for a vehicle are “using digital information and how they are connected,” was a key focus in speeches and discussions at the recent J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.

Arianne Walker, senior director of media and marketing solutions at J.D. Power, introduced the October conference with highlights of trends in automotive Internet usage based on J.D. Power research. She also spoke about the rise in digital media consumption and identified how different devices—smartphones and tablets—are being used to gather information mostly at home, but also on the go—smartphones are also used for auto shopping on the dealer lot. Walker also discussed trends in content with social media and video and how traditional companies are reformulating automotive content in new ways. Continue reading ›

October U.S. Auto Sales Revive after U.S. Government Shutdown

Cars on LotDespite the disruption of the 16-day U.S. government shutdown (Oct. 1 – 16), new-vehicle sales climbed in the second half of the month for nearly all automakers. More than 1.205 million new vehicles were delivered in October, according to J.D. Power and its strategic partner LMC Automotive.

October total sales were up 6.4% from October 2012 on a selling-day adjusted basis (there was one more selling day in October 2013 than in October 2012*). However, deliveries were down 9.7% from September 2013. The seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) translated to 15.2 million units—a million units stronger than last October’s 14.2 million pace, but slightly below the 15.3 million unit rate in September of this year.

Positive factors that benefited new-vehicle sales in October included declining average gas prices at the pump; continued availability of credit for financing and leasing vehicles—including low interest rates; and a slow but continuing recovery in commercial industries where trucks are needed—such as the energy and housing sectors. Continue reading ›

Faster Claims Settlement, Better First Notice of Loss Explanation Drive Satisfaction

Jeremy Bowler

Jeremy Bowler

Overall customer satisfaction with handling of auto insurance claims rises three points to 855 (on a 1,000-point scale) from 852 in 2012, mainly due to higher scores in managing the first notice of loss (FNOL) process and also providing quicker payments to claimants, according to the J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.SM

Among factors evaluated, overall satisfaction with first notice of loss improves by four points due to insurers providing better explanations to claimants of both the policy coverage and claims process, the study finds. Satisfaction with claims settlement improves by three points as insurers are paying faster—over half (51%) of claimants received their payment within eight days of the FNOL in 2013, which is up from 45% in 2012.

Continue reading ›

Sales Satisfaction Up in Vietnam Market; Test Drive Can Make a Difference

Traffic on Vietnamese StreetOverall satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase experience at the dealership has improved by 4 points in 2013 to an average 850 points (on a 1,000-point scale) from 846 points in 2012, according to our 2013 Vietnam Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. Yet, even with this year’s higher satisfaction score, the study finds areas where dealers can improve sales satisfaction, including offering customers a test drive and spending more time with the buyer during the delivery process.

Offering a test drive—which averages 17 minutes in 2013, compared with 19 minutes in 2012 and 21 minutes in 2011—to new-vehicle buyers who visit a dealership in Vietnam can increase customer satisfaction with the sales process, the study finds. Slightly more than one-third (36%) of buyers actually test drive a vehicle. Continue reading ›

October Sales Rebound after Damper Caused by U.S. Government Shutdown

John Humphrey

John Humphrey

Although the U.S. government shutdown (October 1-16) held back retail new-vehicle sales during the first half of October, the overall pace for the month remains ahead of the average for the year, according to a monthly forecast update from J.D. Power and strategic partner LMC Automotive.

Both retail and total (including fleet) new-vehicle sales are expected to rise 8% from the same month in 2012 on a selling-day basis.*

Retail sales in October are projected to reach 1.017 million units—up 8% from October 2012, based on transaction data collected during the first 17 selling days of the month. That translates to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 12.8 million units vs. the year-to-date pace of 12.7 million.

During the first two weeks of October, retail sales edged up only 1.6% from the same October period in 2012, but they increased 7.7% in the third week of the month. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power’s Founder Focuses on Speed of Change during Casual Q&A

Jessica Migdol Garcia and founder J.D. (Dave) Power, III

Jessica Migdol Garcia interviews founder J.D. (Dave) Power, III, during a McGraw-Hill WINS Follow the Sun event in Westlake Village, CA.

In a recent Q&A interview at the J.D. Power office in Westlake Village, CA, founder J.D. (Dave) Power, III, spoke with Jessica Migdol Garcia, senior manager, business development, about a few memorable moments from the research firm’s history. He talked about the impact J.D. Power has had in improving the quality of products—especially cars and trucks—and said that a key challenge will be to manage consumer-focused digital research with the lightning speed of change due to the Internet. Continue reading ›